All posts by Stephen Cooke

2023-24 Winter MouthPeace

Editor writes: Last year we received hand made Christmas cards from the Ukrainian children who were living with our
neighbours and had become our friends. In August their mother decided they should go back to Kyiv – she was missing her
husband and wanted them all to be together as a family. Their home had been destroyed by bombing but they have
managed to get another smaller flat and feel reasonably safe. Israel/Gaza have taken over our news headlines but the war
in Ukraine continues. . The country still needs our prayers.
In this Mouthpeace there are several things to look at or to join on line. Thank you to Sue Gubric for all the information
she sends from Lancaster Diocese. She wrote: This newsletter is becoming an amazing vehicle for our joint ecumenical work
and is now being distributed far and wide!
This edition is being sent out  in time for the start of Advent as there are several differing reflections and zoom events we can join.  Also COP 28 starts  this Thursday 30 November and Green Christian are offering a short daily prayer on line while COP lasts.  Journey to 2030 have also prepared a special edition about this COP that you might find useful. If you would like to send a card to encourage someone whom JRS support, they would like to receive this at their London office by Thursday December 7th.   

NJPN Open Meeting: Wednesday 13 December 2023 7.00pm

in partnership with Christians Aware and Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, NJPN is inviting you to an online meeting.


While our attention is properly focused on the transformative and tragic Hamas attack of October 7th and Israel’s ongoing retaliation, we must ask the question: Where is the transformation going? Will the US and Europe exploit the violence to impose a regime of Israeli apartheid on the Palestinians in the guise of a “two-state solution,” as Biden has threatened, or will civil society be able to use the moment to defeat apartheid and promote a genuine resolution that guarantees the rights of both Palestinians and Israelis? What would a genuine peace require and how might it look?


Join Jeff Halper, the Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), as we explore these questions. The discussion is timely precisely at this moment, as Israel believes the legitimacy of its violent repression of the Palestinians in the eyes of governments — “To Victory!” as the Israeli government and military leaders cry — will enable it to finally defeat the Palestinians’ struggle for freedom in its homeland. What alternative vision and political program is called for? Join us for what will be a challenging conversation.   

Jeff Halper A4 poster – click here to download 

For further details and link, please contact Sharon at:


To join the meeting please follow the details below;

Topic: Jeff Halper webinar


Time: Dec 13, 2023 07:00 PM London


Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 837 1935 8781


Passcode: 228171


NW NJPN Justice and Peace E Bulletin Mid November 2023

Despite the dark days that dominate the headlines at present the Mid November NW NJPN E Bulletin contains many signs of hope: in a letter for World Youth Day (26 November), Pope Francis describes youth as a time of “hopes and dreams”; Green Christian’s Annual Members Meeting reports a fruitful and wide-ranging discussion on finding hope; the Archbishop of Dublin finds hope in last month’s Synod; a fascinating conversation between actors Adrian Lester and Meera Syal, videoed during lockdown, discuss how sharing stories gives hope for understanding between different groups; reviewing Ken Loach’s latest film, The Old Oak, Fr Chris Hughes describes how the Tyne and Wear Citizens alliance of about 35 institutions including mosques, schools, charities, community groups, a universities, churches and trade unions allows shared concerns and hope to be located across diverse groups of people. 

The bulletin leads with poems, prayers and articles on the conflict in the Holy Land as well as issues closer to home: a call for urgent government action on the poverty that affects children, the elderly and disabled and homeless people; and Ian Linden’s latest blog looks at the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling against the Rwanda plan. Jesuit Refugee Service give details of a Christmas Greetings Card campaign and PACT has news of Advent carol services for prisoners and their families.

I have produced a series of weekly Advent reflections on the themes of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love for individual or group use – you can download these using the link on page 17.

As we approach Advent and the Christmas season let us pray for peace in our hearts, in our communities and in our world.

Anne O’Connor

NW NJPN Justice and Peace E Bulletin Mid November 2023

Next NJPN Open Meeting – 21st November 2023

What are the burning justice and peace issues that keep you awake at night?

Everyone is invited to an online event on Tuesday 21st November  7.30 – 9pm.

So many of us are living on a knife edge; asking: are we here tomorrow? What about the precariousness of life; How do we encountering reality? How do we survive as a society where no one is left behind?

What is the role of NJPN and all justice and peace activists in this time of upheaval and political and social uncertainty?

This will be an opportunity to share concerns, ideas, and suggestions for action.

For more details and the meeting link please contact:

Sharon, Acting Administrator at:




NJPN E-Bulletin 12th November 2023

(Image courtesy of the Peace Pledge Union)

A prayer commended by the Archbishop in Jerusalem:

O God of all justice and peace,
we cry out to you in the midst of the pain and trauma of violence and fear which prevails in the Holy Land. 

Be with those who need you in these days of suffering;

we pray for people of all faiths

– Jews, Muslims and Christians and for all people of the land. 

While we pray to you, O Lord, for an end to violence and the establishment of peace,

we also call for you to bring justice and equity to the peoples.

Guide us into your kingdom where all people are treated with dignity and honour as your children

– for to all of us  you are our Heavenly Father. 

In Jesus’ name we pray, 

(From the Fellowship of Reconciliation newsletter)

Dear Friends,

I start with the sad news that Geoff Thompson, our Administrator, passed away on the 1st November. Being a man of great faith, he would have appreciated the fact that it was All Saints Day. We remember Geoff in an obituary below. There are also details of his funeral, which will take place on Wednesday.

The unseasonal early Autumn warm weather is a dim distant memory, and I have had to put my heating on a couple of times in this past week, just to warm the house up a bit. I like to think I am doing my bit for the climate by not putting it on – but in reality, it is to save on the energy bills. I was reminded recently, though, that it is not always good to let your house get too cold. My other half has had a problem with mould on the walls of his flat, and when the Housing Association sent an Assessor to look at it he was told that the mould was caused by damp, and that he should be heating his flat up to at least 18 degrees to avoid that sort of a problem. If you can afford to have your heating on much of the time, that is fine, but most of us can’t. If anyone has any tips they want to share about saving energy and keeping the house warm, they would be gratefully received – and it would be good to be able to pass onto others.

Our Action of the Week today is to encourage you to attend a Christian Aid event that is taking place tomorrow (Monday 13th). Please attend if you can.

The next e-bulletin will be out in three weeks time. Before then we will be having our Networking Evening on the 21st November, which I hope as many of you as possible will attend. This is your chance to have your say on your burning issues, and how NJPN can respond. More details are below.

Please send any articles to be included by Friday 1st December to be included in the next edition.

Stay warm and safe,


NJPN E-Bulletin 12th November 2023

Save the Dates: NJPN Open Networking Days 2024

Here are the dates for the 2024 Open Networking Days and AGM. Please save and share with your contacts and others who might wish to attend.

News from Pax Christi

Israel and Gaza: Ceasefire Now
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it…… Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate… Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars” Martin Luther King Jr
It is now a month since the horrific attack by Hamas on Israeli communities close to the border with Gaza and all of us will have been deeply distressed by the escalation of violence and suffering that has followed.
We have endorsed a number of statements calling on the UK Government to act and we can only reiterate our call as a Pax Christi movement internationally for an immediate ceasefire, the access of humanitarian aid to Gaza and the release of all hostages. You can read a full statement from Pax Christi International here:

To read updates from our partners in Palestine and Israel, further statements from church leaders and details of action you can take please see our website page on Palestine and Israel

Urgent action needed on violence in the West Bank
EAPPI UK & Ireland is reporting that violence in the West Bank has increased significantly since the 7th October with UN experts warning of the risk of genocide of the Palestinian people and further mass displacement. Nearly 1,000 Palestinians from at least 15 different communities have been forced to leave their homes due to settler violence and movement restrictions imposed by Israeli forces and settlers. They are recommending urgent action and you can find the details here:
National March for Palestine – Ceasefire Now
Saturday 11 November, 12 noon – 4pm, Hyde Park, London
We will be joining the national ‘March for Palestine’ in London this Saturday to add our voice to demands for a ceasefire in Gaza and a just peace between Israel and Palestine.

The final details for the event are still being worked out but for anyone wanting to join us we are proposing meeting at 11.30am at the Animals in War Memorial which is at Brook Gate, Hyde Park, Park Lane.

Please not some tube lines are closed for part of Saturday 11th – see

Given that things may change please let us know if you are coming and let us have your mobile/WhatsApp details and we will try to keep in touch. Please also check our website, Facebook Page and Twitter/X feed for updates.

Please note that some tube lines are closed for part of Saturday 11th – see

The march is being organised by: Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Stop the War Coalition, Muslim Association of Britain, Palestinian Forum in Britain and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
Remembrance Events
This coming Sunday is Remembrance Sunday and there will be events of remembrance around the country over the whole weekend. For details of events that may be taking place in your area, see the Peace Pledge Union website here

The National Alternative Remembrance Ceremony takes place in Tavistock Square, London from 12.00pm to 1.00pm on Sunday and will focus on Palestine and Israel. One of our Vice Presidents, Pat Gaffney, will be speaking and you can find more detail here

Peace Sunday -14th January 2024 – Resources Coming Soon

In August, Pope Francis announced that his theme for next year’s World Peace Day will be ‘Artificial Intelligence and Peace’.

We are compiling resources for parishes and supporters to help mark the day and we will be posting these out and adding them to our website later this month. Let us know if you would like a resource pack for your church or organisation or by emailing us at

Pax Christi Advent Service, Saturday 2nd December, 2.00pm

For our Advent Service this year, we are returning to the Church of the Holy Apostles, 47 Cumberland Street, Pimlico, London SW1V 4LY.

The service will last around an hour and will be followed by our Alternative Christmas Market with Fairtrade and Palestinian goods, crafts and gifts, books, cards and refreshments.

For those unable to get to London, we will be livestreaming the event and you will be able to find all the details for that livestream on our website nearer the time.

2023 Pax Christi International Peace Award: The Parents Circle – Families Forum (PCFF)

08 November 2023
Pax Christi International is pleased to announce that The Parents Circle – Families Forum (PCFF)is the recipient of the 2023 Pax Christi International Peace Award. The award ceremony will be held in the Holy Land, as soon as the conditions allow, in 2024. Meanwhile a webinar (virtual program) will be held on December 10th, 2023, on Human Rights Day, to present the organisation to the public and share why Pax Christi International has chosen them as the recipient of this year’s award.
The Parents Circle – Families Forum (PCFF)is a collaborative Israeli-Palestinian organisation comprising more than 700 families, all of whom have lost a close family member due to the continuing conflict. Furthermore, the PCFF firmly believes that the process of reconciliation between the two nations is an essential precondition for attaining a lasting peace. Consequently, the organisation employs all available resources in the fields of education, public gatherings, and the media to disseminate these concepts.
PCFF collaborates with Combatants for Peace as an organizer and producer of the annual Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony, held on the eve of Israel’s Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism to honour the memories of Israelis and Palestinians who have lost loved ones as a result of the ongoing cycle of violence. The date of the event reminds the bereaved on both sides of their shared pain and hope.
Recently, the organisation has faced restrictions preventing them from offering their educational programs in Israeli schools. This prohibition deprives Israeli children and teenagers of the chance to acquire essential skills in constructive communication and reconciliation, fundamental elements in fostering Peace. Despite this, the Parents Circle remains committed to making a positive impact on society, in the achievement of a peaceful environment for the children and their families.
Upon reaching their decision regarding The Parents Circle – Families Forum (PCFF), the members of the Pax Christi International Board acknowledged the organisation’s impactful message and actions in the Holy Land, which persistently operate within an unending cycle of violence, recently marked by heightened brutality. This award not only acknowledges the organisation’s prior initiatives in advocating for dialogue and nonviolent solutions to the ongoing violence but also, especially at this moment, demonstrates our support, with the aspiration that their work will stand as a paradigm of peace in the Holy Land.
By honouring the Parents Circle, Pax Christi International and its Catholic Nonviolence Initiative hopes to showcase how even while enduring great loss individuals can choose something other than revenge and hate. We hope to acknowledge their strength and absolute commitment to create an atmosphere where peace and justice can flourish allowing all those who live in the Holy Land to live with dignity and a hope for a better future”, said Martha Inés Romero, Secretary General of Pax Christi International.
The Parents Circle joint directors, Nadine Quomsieh and Yuval Rahamim in receiving the news of the Peace award 2023 said: “This year we see our mission as even more important as violence, fear, and hate are rising in the region. Our commitment remains to do whatever we can to prevent more families in this land from losing their loved ones. We thank the board of Pax Christi and hope that this award will help carry our message to more people in our communities and around the world”.
Established in 1988, the Pax Christi International Peace Award is funded by the Cardinal Bernardus Alfrink Peace Fund and honours contemporary individuals and organisations who make a stand for peace, justice and nonviolence in different parts of the world.
For more information, contact:
Martha Inés Romero, Pax Christi International

May Geoff Rest in Peace.

The funeral service for Geoff, NJPN Administrator,  is scheduled for Wednesday 15 November at 12.15pm at St Wilfrid’s Church, Chapel St, Preston PR1 8BU, followed by interment at St Joseph’s Brindle graveyard.

We pray that Geoff will rest in peace and rise in glory.


For directions from Preston Railway Station please click the below link;

For directions from Preston Bus Station please click the below link;

CBCEW Statement – Bishops urge ‘diplomatic efforts’ for a ceasefire in Gaza

2T43X3B Leicester, Leicestershire, UK. 28th October 2023. Protesters wave flags during a pro-Palestinian demonstration. Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters have gathered in London and across the UK for rallies urging an end to Israel’s attacks in Gaza. Credit Darren Staples/Alamy Live News.
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Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in London and across the UK over the weekend for rallies urging an end to Israel’s attacks in Gaza.

Darren Staples/Alamy Live News

The Bishops of England and Wales have urged the UK government, to make “diplomatic efforts for a ceasefire, the immediate release of all hostages and the facilitation of humanitarian aid so that desperately needed food, water, fuel, and medical supplies can be safely delivered into Gaza”.

In a statement on the Israel and Hamas war, released on Monday, Bishop Declan Lang, chair of the bishops’ conference international affairs department, and Bishop Nicholas Hudson, chair of the Holy Land Co-ordination, said, “We will continue to add our voice to the impassioned chorus calling for justice, peace, and the cessation of the suffering that has descended upon the Holy Land.”

Cafod, Christian Aid and other agencies handed in a petition to the Foreign Office in London on 2 November, with 300,000 signatures, urging the government to support a ceasefire to prevent further loss of life in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. More humanitarian access must be granted to ease unimaginable levels of suffering, they said.

The previous day, Jewish protesters were among those calling for an end to attacks on Gaza. Gathered in the main concourse of St Pancras Station station, they carried banners saying: “Free Palestine”, “never again for anyone” and “Jews say ceasefire now!” Peaceful demonstrations also took place at Liverpool Street station in London, New Street station in Birmingham and Queen Street Station in Glasgow.

Dozens of peace vigils and marches calling for a ceasefire are planned in cities and towns around the UK this coming weekend. Organisers, such as Stop the War, have condemned as “outrageous” comments by Home Secretary Suella Braverman saying that pro-Palestinian protests are “hate marches”. Stop the War said, “The unimaginable suffering of the people of Gaza demands we raise our voices in protest.” Organisers in London have said there is no intention of marching on or near Whitehall, in order not to disrupt events at the Cenotaph.

The Community Security Trust, which helps protect the Jewish community from antisemitism, was among those to condemn the protests. In a blog, the trust said: “Another Saturday, another anti-Israel protest, another weekend in which British Jews are exposed to an outpouring of hate in our capital and across the UK – Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, the list goes on.”

Meanwhile, Pax Christi England and Wales is promoting the white poppy of the Peace Pledge Union, in order to “stand up for peace and recognise the true human cost of war”. Pax Christi asked its members to remember that military personnel are not the only victims of war: “Remember the innocent civilians, the stretcher bearers, the victims of genocide, the merchant navy, the rescue workers, the ambulance drivers, the broken families.”  

Alternative remembrance services are to be held on Sunday at Tavistock Square in London and at the Quaker Meeting house in Edinburgh, where participants will observe two minutes’ silence and white poppy wreaths will be laid in memory of all victims of war. One of the London speakers is Pat Gaffney, vice president of Pax Christi England and Wales, who will highlight ongoing work with peace campaigners in Israel and Palestine.

Friends of the Holy Land is supporting the launch of an appeal by the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem, who has highlighted hardship in the West Bank as well as in Gaza. The Patriarchate is distributing food, water, medicines and other supplies.

This article was published by The Tablet –